unConference success!

For the last 10 months, I have been working part-time at the Virginia Department of Education on a federal expansion grant, known as Virginia Preschool Initiative Plus (VPI+) as the Senior Data Analyst.  

As is often the case, we wear multiple hats in our professional lives, and I recently was able to tap into my experiences leading professional development and adult learning by organizing an unConference for our VPI+ Implementation Team at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.

unConferences are governed by two core principles:

  • Everyone in attendance has something to offer
  • Everyone is responsible for contributing to their learning and the learning of others

So at the beginning of the day, we had participants write down on sticky notes four burning questions or topics they wanted to discuss and problem solve with peers.  These sticky notes were them grouped into themes, and the day's agenda was created.

Cathy Surowka, the VPI+ Family Engagement Coordinator in Chesterfield County Public Schools, created an Animoto summarizing the day's events for those who could not attend.  It was so fantastic, I just had to share!